EFFORTS TO GET HER ATTENTION
I woke up the next day at two in the afternoon. My dead felt dizzy and I remembered my drunken state from the night before. The first thing I did after waking up was to check WhatsApp especially to see if there was any message from Hritisha. There was nothing. Why should she message me? We were not best friends yet. I was expecting excessively much I guess.
I thought Hritisha might notice if I would change my profile picture and status. I surfed my mobile phone gallery to look for a nice picture for my profile. Suddenly I saw two pictures of Bob Marley’s quotes, which were sent by Sunny in my college’s WhatsApp group.
As soon as I saw it, I knew it was what I was looking for to be my display picture. It read ‘If she’s amazing, she won’t be easy. If she’s easy, she won’t be amazing. If she’s worth it, you won’t give up. If you give up, you are not worthy. ..the truth is, everybody is going to hurt you; you just got to find the ones worth suffering for.’
I changed by status to one of the most memorable quotes of Bob Marley,
‘You may not be her first, her last or her only. She loved before; she may love again. But, if she loves you now, what else matters? - Bob Marley’. I checked Hritisha’s profile. She was online. I wanted to send a message to her, but I could not. I waited for around ten minutes.
‘Hey, Nice DP and incredible status.'
I saw a message from Hritisha, which I had received when I was probably in the shower. Within ten minutes, I got ready, lay down on my bed and started replying her.
‘10x Very much’ I replied
‘10x?’ She responded after half a minute.
‘Ohh...it means thanks.'
‘Achha...new word haan?’
‘So, are you at work?’ Hritisha asked.
‘No, I have Friday-Saturday off.'
‘Awwww, lucky you are.'
‘Lollx. Yes, I’m ;)’
‘I’m jealous.' She said.
‘Hmmmm. Okay, then I am little busy, ttul.'
‘I mean Talk to U Later.' Hritisha said.
‘Achha...new word haan?’ I asked.
‘Good for you, okay bye dear. TC’
‘Hi, You there?’ Hritisha sent me text at night.
‘Hey, Hi. Tell Me.’ I replied.
‘So you are from Ahmedabad, Right? I saw your details today.'
‘Yes, I was born and brought up in Ahmedabad and am currently working in Dubai since the last three years.’
I also asked Hritisha about her family and graduation. She told me that she was born and brought up in Delhi and her parents have been living in UAE for the past twenty years. She used to visit UAE during the vacation. She also migrated to UAE after finishing her graduation and luckily, she got the job as an assistant manager in the Hamdan Institute. She also told me that she had a younger sister named Reet Jain who was still pursuing her graduation in Delhi and living with her Bade Papa, her father’s elder brother.
I also told her that I had migrated to Dubai in 2010 after finishing my graduation. I got the opportunity work as an accountant in Dubai based on my four years’ experience in India. I also told her that my parents live in Ahmedabad with my grandmother and that I had an elder sister who was already married.
There was a small pause in the short conversation between Hritisha and me. I wanted to see her photos. I wanted to ask her to show me more pics, but I was not sure about how she would react. What would she think about me? What if she would say no?
‘Can we be FB friends if you don't mind?’ I asked her after weighing the pros and cons.
‘Hahaha, why not?’
I gave my Facebook ID to Hritisha.
'Hritisha Jain has sent you a friend request on Facebook.' The notification appeared on my mobile screen. I logged in through my desktop system and accepted her friend request. Finally, we were FB friends within half an hour.
I checked her profile picture with a black top, untied hair and quite an adorable smile. My heart skipped a beat yet again. She looked damn beautiful and unbelievably fair as usual, even without makeup. I was aware of the kind of edited and filtered photographs people use on Facebook. To make sure, I clicked through all her albums and checked every picture. There was hardly a picture or two where she did not quite appear that good and that too because of the poor quality of the photos.
I saw some photos with her friends in which she was tagged. They all were eating pizza at some mall and clicking photos. She was glowing in those pictures. Hritisha’s cheeks that the glow of a strawberry’s red. I checked very carefully just to confirm if the photos were really hers. There were a few pictures where she was seen wearing spectacles. I happened to have an affinity for girls with untied hair and spectacles. I checked all those five-six photos multiple times.
‘Yaaaaaarr’ I dropped her message on Facebook.
‘What happened?’ Hritisha replied with an emoticon with a surprised expression.
‘Nothing, leave it.'
‘Areey? Say Na?’
‘Yaar tum to bahot gori chitti ho.'
‘Hahahahahahahahahaha. Why? Wasn’t I looking tha gori chitti when you saw me at the institute?' She asked.
‘Lol. You were looking gorgeous, but I could not tell. I was behaving like a gentleman'
‘You are a mental man. ROFL' She said.
‘See...? I knew you would laugh :( ‘
‘Naa naa, I laughed because I imagined how cutely u must have said that’
‘Hehehe, achha so which of my pics did you check out on FB?'
‘The pizza ones.'
‘Ohh those pics?’
‘Haan, I went to a mall with my school friends.'
‘Okok, you look beautiful.'
‘Hehe, ty ty :)’
There was again a pause of half a minute.
‘Achha, listen, I need to sleep. Can we chat tomorrow if you don't mind?’ Hritisha asked.
‘Itni jaldi? It's just 11 PM?’ I asked surprisingly.
‘Haanji, actually my job timings are frm morning 9 to afternoon 6.'
‘Ji, so I have to wake up at 6 o'clock and the cab comes at around 7 from Sharjah.’
‘Ohhhkkkkss, no worries. '
‘Hmmm, GN SD TC’ I wished.
‘You too dear, cya 2morrow.' She wished me too.
‘Sure, see u.'
We greeted each other, and Hritisha went to sleep. I could not. I was still looking at Hritisha’s other photos on FB. I have seen all of her pictures thrice. However, especially the photo in which she looked too much fair, I saw those hundred times and I downloaded that picture without her permission. Finally, it was around 12:30 AM as it was my maximum limit to stay up during weekdays. In weekends, I could stay awake until the next morning. My eyes were about to close. I slept by thinking ‘yaar bahot gori hai yeh toh.'
A beautiful morning appeared on the horizon the next day. I alarm clock – the worst enemy to human sleep – sounded and tried to blast my ears. I desperately wanted to hold on to my fantasy world and so I patted the phone to snooze mode. I smiled with my eyes closed. The alarm would not know what it is to feel the way I felt then.
With only a half of a consciousness erecting my back, I reached out to my phone and checked Facebook. Without reading the pending 11 notifications, I opened WhatsApp just to check a single message from Hritisha. I saw that her last seen was 2 hours ago. I realized she must have woken up for office. I was quite upset because she did not send me a ‘Good Morning’ text. The absence of one stupid text message drove to think all sorts of nonsense. I always knew what an insecure person I was and how I feared losing people I love. It felt no different with her. There was no text from her and I reached the conclusion that she had no interest in me and does not want to take the relationship any further. While she was not willing to move beyond casual chats, I had already pictured myself exchanging vows with her. I knew I was being silly, but my heart ran at the speed of a break-less car. People say, it takes a lifetime to find true love, and sometimes it even happens in seconds. I knew that with her, I could settle for nothing less than love.
I reached the office, and again I noticed Hritisha’s WhatsApp active six hours ago. Without thinking further, I sent her a ‘Good Morning’ text. It did not deliver for the next five hours.
‘Hey, good morning’ I got a reply from her.
‘Hey wassup?’ I replied.
‘Nothing much. Just having lunch in the Food Court in Dubai Mall.'
‘Ohhhh, chalo have lunch thn we'll talk.'
I told Hritisha that I could not live without food for a long time. She asked me whether I could cook or not. I told her that the only thing I knew about food was how to eat them. She laughed and instructed me to learn cooking for my health. Eating outside might not be good news for my health. Her health advisory registered in my heart as her concern for me. After my mother, she was the second person to have taken interest in my health. It had been a long time since mom stopped ranting about my food discipline. Hritisha caught that rein.
‘But no choice dear :( ‘
‘Okay, I can understand that, but please stop eating fast food at least, have a proper meal at least during lunch. In dinner, you can have fruits or vegetables.'
‘Sure. I will change my habits.'
‘Haan, or else I will help you.' Hritisha said.
That was another masterstroke from her side. This time I was clean bowled. I had decided in my mind to never let her go, come what may.
I fumbled to find a fitting reply to that. I wanted to break the ice some more between us. I wanted to show her the real side of me. The Siddhant that was funny, flirty, wicked but never disrespectful. I so wanted to, but on second thoughts I chickened out. What if I blurt out anything offensive? What if she finds me insensitive and perverse?
‘Oksss, that’s great, finally, I've got my free dietician,’
‘Ha ha ha, Gujju, I will charge for that, nothing will be free.'
I started to show her the real Siddhant.
‘See madam, I am Gujju, upar se Ahmedabadi, upar se baniya, upar se commerce graduate, upar se accountant, do you still think that I will pay you?’
‘Beta I am also from Delhi. Haven’t you heard 'Dilli ki billi Ko maar lo, khaa lo par paalo nahi, pachtaoge' lol.'
‘Haaillaa, Dev-D ka dialogue?’
‘Hey bhaggguu, Filmy Bhoot.'
‘Hahaha, yes. However, it's nothing like that. Delhi people are friendly. One of my best friends is also from Delhi, and my sister and Jiju also lived in Delhi for three years. She has told me that we have wrong perceptions about Delhi people.'
‘Yesssss, we are friendly people, you know?’
‘So?’ I asked Hritisha after a pause of two-three minutes. Thanks to our employers for allotting us a one-hour lunch break. I could chat with the girl of my dreams for an hour!
‘What?’ Hritisha asked.
‘Say something more about yourself.'
‘What should I say?’
‘Hmm, so ask me if you want to know more abt me.'
‘Hmmm, okay thn tell me what's your dream?’ She asked me.
‘To marry you.'
‘Shut up, lol!’
Her LOL made me comfortable. I thought she might not have a problem with some harmless flirting from my side.
‘Tell na,’ She asked.
I told Hritisha that I wanted to be a film director and wanted to do a Diploma in filmmaking after my 12th board. It has been my dream to see 'written & directed by Siddhant Shah' on the big screen. But with my father losing his business while I was in the 10th and, my sister dropping out of college to take up a job, and I too dropped my dream and started working right after my 12th standard boards.
‘Wow yaar, so college?’ Hritisha asked.
‘Morning 7 to 11 College and then a job.'
‘Superb, I am impressed.'
I felt better whn she wrote that she was impressed.
‘No worries, still life is not over, you can still achieve your Dream.' Hritisha said.
‘Haan, sometimes I think that if I had joined film school in 2006, maybe would have had the chance to fit in as Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s AD, working with actors and being a part of a grand movie.
‘What abt you?’ I asked Hritisha about her dream.
‘Oh, God! I have loooooong list!'
‘Still, what’s the biggest Dream?'
‘Hmmmm, I wanted to become a fashion designer.'
‘Areey waah! That sounds great!'
‘Actually, you can be, you have a nice dressing sense.'
‘Yup. I have seen your photos. I feel you have great dressing sense.'
‘Hehehe, thank you ji.'
‘Koi Naa. I appoint you as the official Costume Designer when I make my first movie.' I said.
‘Ya right! Then you would not even entertain me. You a film director and me, a small-time costume designer!'
‘Not if I fall in love with you by then.'
That acted as the final nail in the coffin. I was damn sure that Hritisha would not like my last comment. She read the text. I noticed Hritisha was typing something for a very long time. A long paragraph would come for sure. I was waiting for her reply. Her reaction.
After a few seconds, a message blinked on the screen. It was a simple ‘hahaha’ with a LOL sticker. I figured she must have typed something really harsh and then deleted the message.
‘Sorry,’ I texted her.
‘For the last comment.'
‘Areey baba it's fine, don't worry.'
I took a long breath. However, indirectly I had already expressed my feelings for her, and if I was not completely aiming in the dark, the feeling was mutual. We stopped chatting for some time, as we got busy with our respective schedules. I waited for almost five hours to get Hritisha’s next message. I checked my phone several times on my way home, to see if Hritisha had sent any text or not. I reached home, checked my phone one more time and yet found nothing.
I was thoroughly distracted during dinner. I did not feel even an ounce of hunger. My complete attention and devotion lay with my cell phone that keeps locking and unlocking to check for messages. 'Active 5 hours ago' appeared on Hritisha’s chat window. I hit the bed without changing my clothes, my phone still clutched in my fist.
The next morning, Aaqil woke me up. I had not set the alarm. Hope from last night lingered on and I checked my phone. 'Active 15 hours ago' showed her chat box.
Strangely, I was not irritated this time. I was anxious. Had something happened to her? Till today, I feel the same way about her. I could not concentrate in office the whole day. Now and then, I was checking my phone.
‘Subhah wali morning ji.' I sent a text to Hritisha.
I waited for half an hour, but it was not delivered. I could not concentrate on my work the whole day as I was waiting for her message to arrive. Several thoughts ran through my head. I decided to grab lunch at Dubai Mall – the ideal time-pass zone.
I came back to the office after one hour and opened Facebook Messenger. The message was not yet delivered. I was glaring at the chat window. WhatsApp was betraying me. My anxiousness was growing at the speed of a meteor. I dared to look at the phone once again. The message had been delivered. Hritisha had come online after 21 hours.
‘Hahaha, what was that?'. She read the message and asked about 'Subhah wali morning.'
‘Hehehe, it’s Good morning wish.'
‘Why? If 'Ishq Wala love' is possible then why not 'Subhah wali morning?’
‘Lol, thn toh afternoon wali dophar Mubarak aapko.'
‘Hehehe, aap ko bhi.'
She apologized for not texting me upon reaching home the other day. She understood what I might have felt. It’s as if we had this unbelievable connection.
'Yes, I was eagerly waiting for your text; I haven't eaten my dinner, breakfast, and lunch even. Desperately I was looking at your chat window. You were offline for almost 22 hours. Those 22 hours were like 22 years for me. Please do not stay away for this long. I love you a lot, and now I can't live without you for even a single second.' I wanted to write all these stuff to her. However, I did not want to pretend that I was desperate, even though I really was.
‘Areey, it’s okay, don't worry’ I replied.
‘Achha, can I say something?’ Hritisha asked.
‘It's okay, Finish your work, thn go home, have dinner, and text me when you are free’ I replied.
‘Hahaha, how do you knw?’
‘The same way how you knew I was waiting for your text.'
‘Hmmm, karti hun msg, bye, TC.'
‘You too :)’
I felt relieved and started doing my office work. I finished my duty and went home. We talked for a few hours at night. I still remember we always tried to be formal in the beginning before we delved into real talking. The nonsense and the sensible.
The next morning, I got ready and went to the office. Everything round the clock happened in the same pattern like all the other days. I had no mood to work and only thought about her all day long. I ran a quick check of the chats we had and the pictures she had on Facebook. Hritisha used to come online during the lunch break at around 1:30 PM. Therefore, it was tough to pass the time between 7:00 AM to 1:30 PM. I always wanted to talk to her. It felt as if even if I chatted with her throughout the day, I would still be wanting some more.
‘Afternoon sir’ I received her text at sharp 1:45 PM. It arrived 15 minutes late.
‘Hello ji’ within a half minute I replied.
‘Hahaha, you are always online Na? Koi kam dhandha hai hi nahi. Right?’
‘Tere khayalo me khoya rahu, mera kaam ab yehi hai’.
‘Did I ever tell you I hate flirting? Well, I do.’ Hritisha replied.
‘Nahhiii, you broke my heart 74 times in these three days.'
‘ROFL, you are counting. Superb, I thought it should be 100 times.'
‘Hehehe, your sense of humor is also not bad.'
‘I know. Lol’
‘Achha sorry…for replying late.’
Damn! How could she understand what was running through my mind? I swear she had fixed some CCTV camera inside my brain.
‘It's okay dear. No worries.' I said.
‘Hmmm. What did you have during lunch?’ Hritisha asked.
‘Fast food again. Told you not to, right?'
‘But I don't have any choice here.'
‘Hmmm. anyway, who am I to tell you what right and what’s not.'
‘No no. It's not like that. Sorry. Sure from tomorrow onwards, I will start eating healthy food.'
‘And anyhow I need to lose weight also.'
‘Why? How much is your weight?’
‘Around 96 kg.'
‘What? Are you serious Siddhant?’
‘Don't say that.'
‘Haan, my bones have all the weight. You can't make out my body weight from my appearance.’
‘Whatever. I think you need to shed a few kilos.'
‘Yess, I will start from tomorrow.’
‘Lol! dekhte hai.'
We had talked for some time. Later in the day, we got busy with our respective duties and met again at night on chat.
‘Wakeup mottu, 96 kg.lol.' Hritisha sent me a text early in the morning.
Her text had arrived at five. I woke up at seven.
‘Hehehe, from tomorrow. Pakka’ I replied.
‘Lol. Beta tumse naa ho paega’. She answered me during our lunch break.
‘Hoga hoga’ I replied.
‘We will see. Chalo break time is over. Will buzz you after duty. TC. Have your lunch properly. No fast food pls.'
‘Naa naa. I have brought oats. Will eat dat.'
‘Good boy. Chalo I am going. See you. TC’